The speed of rotation of the Earth is not constant, it depends on the distribution of the mass of the Moon and our planet. Because of this, an Earth day can be a fraction of a second longer or shorter than 24 hours. On June 29, atomic clocks recorded the shortest day on record, but daylight hours have steadily continued to grow since 2020. This is a very abrupt change, and scientists have no explanation for such a phenomenon.
Science knows several reasons for the fluidity of time on Earth. For example, interaction with the Moon, which causes tides, slowly takes away energy and slows down the rotation of our planet.
Scientists know that during the time of the dinosaurs, the length of the day was 30 minutes shorter than today. Now it is more, and this trend will continue in the future. One day, a day on Earth may become longer than on Mars, where a day is 24 hours 37 minutes and 22 seconds long.
According to Matt King and Dr. Christopher Watson of the University of Tasmania, the rotation of the Earth mimics the physics of a figure skater, who spins much faster when he clasps his arms to his chest. This phenomenon is the same angular momentum, due to which the speed of the Earth’s rotation changes. You don’t have to be a skater to feel the physics on yourself, just sit on a swivel chair, spin around and press your hands.
In addition, the melting of glaciers has led to a decrease in pressure at the Earth’s poles. It also caused glacioisostasis , which affects the redistribution of the mass of the continents and the altered movement of magma in the interior of the Earth. Because of this, from 1972 to 2020, the average day decreased by three milliseconds.
Also, the length of the day changes due to earthquakes, which shift the mass to the poles of the planet or the equator. And even weather changes like thunderstorms change the length of the day. For example, large storms that cause a lot of precipitation near the equator slow the planet’s rotation. Snowfalls have the opposite effect – until the precipitation melts and returns to the seas and oceans.
Nevertheless, if we add up all the described reasons for the acceleration and deceleration of the Earth, then they do not explain the events of recent years. So far, scientists are only hypothesizing why daylight hours continue to increase, despite all the factors against it.
For example, researchers talk about the accelerated melting of glaciers, the consequences of the recent eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Haapai volcano, or changes in the temperature of the oceans. However, all these reasons are also far-fetched, scientists say.
On the other hand, the slowing of the Earth can play into the hands of technology companies, which constantly face problems due to leap seconds that disrupt the operation of synchronization systems. So far, the world hasn’t needed to add a negative leap second, going from 11:59:58 pm straight to midnight, but it may need to if a string of short enough days happens. However, the consequences of such shifts can be unpredictable.
Read also 🧐